Zucchini. Yup, it’s that time.

It may seem a bit early for those of you on the East Coast, but we’ve been eating zucchini for more than a month and have gotten quite good at making it disappear.  I would say it helped that we were in Italy for two weeks, except we returned to find at least 6 torpedo-sized monstrosities in amongst the foliage.  We were saved by a few of our garden neighbors who don’t have summer squash plants quite as enthusiastic for life as ours.  This brings me to rule 1 of having zucchini plants: pick the fruit when they’re small.

Here is a list of ideas for magicking zucchini away.

  1. Zucchini Gratin — my eternal favorite.  It can make both large and small zucchini specimens taste just delish.  It doesn’t hurt that it involves cheese.
  2. Zucchini Fritters.  Here is how Smitten Kitchen does it.  They are amazing with grated lemon zest and minced fresh mint in place of the onions.
  3. Chocolate zucchini cake.  I will hopefully get around to posting the recipe we’ve been using soon, because it makes some of the most moist chocolate cake in existence (although the Guinness chocolate cake does pretty well too).
  4. Variations on the shakshuka concept: cook veggies until nice and soft, then cook eggs in the veggies and eat immediately.  I was originally inspired by the Ottolenghi recipe in Plenty, but the NYT recipe and Smitten Kitchen recipe involve cheese, which may be more your style.  Since peppers haven’t come in yet (what is usually used in shakshuka), I’ve been sauteing onions and zucchini until golden, then adding canned crushed tomatoes, a bit of dried oregano, a dash of Chipotle pepper powder (YES, this stuff is amazing), plenty of salt, and a teaspoon or so of sugar.  Then I drop in two eggs, cover the small pot, and turn the heat down low until the eggs are cooked.  We’ve been eating this for breakfast all week and I’m not even close to sick of it.
  5. Eventually, once we have our own tomatoes and peppers, I will start making ratatouille.
  6. And of course, there’s stuffed summer squash!  With the heat wave we’ve been experiencing this week though, I will be staying away from the oven, in which case the following super-simple preparations will be coming to the rescue.
  7. Cubed sauteed zucchini as part of a burrito bowl!  I’ve been eating at Chipotle too much I guess, but I just can’t get enough of burrito bowls: rice, beans, roasted/sauteed veggies such as zucchini and onion, salsa, and avocado.  Usually I will make a large pot of rice and beans on the weekend which makes this a nearly heat-free (and easy!) meal during the week.
  8. Sauteed strips of zucchini served with sauteed garlic and fresh lemon juice.  And maybe some fresh herbs like basil on top.
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